Locals demand stop to scofflaw development

Locals demand stop to scofflaw development
Photo by Jordan Rathkopf

Marine Parkers are demanding the city crack down on illegal and unsafe construction sites after inspectors halted work at an Avenue T home because of numerous safety violations.

The latest revelations are just another instance of a rise in illegal construction in the neighborhood, residents say.

“This is something that’s going on in Marine Park. It’s a big thing — people building outside of their permit,” said Shannon O’Brien, who lives down the block on Hendrickson Street. “It’s concerning.”

Owner David Halberstam filed plans for a two-story, single-family home between Hendrickson Street and Flatbush Avenue in November, but the Department of Buildings issued a full stop-work order on Jan. 27 because workers were building without appropriate guardrails, netting, or a construction fence — and because they failed to show the inspectors their approved plans, according to a department spokesman.

But neighbors are worried about more than just safety — they believe Halberstam is actually building a commercial building and just claiming that he’s doing residential work.

The land is zoned for residential, and developers would need a waiver from the city to build commercial property there, according to city records.

“It doesn’t seem like it’s going to be residential, could be commercial, which I’m not happy about as a resident from the neighborhood, aside from it being a general eye sore,” said Hendrickson Street resident Vincent Andreassi. “This is an example of what happens altogether too often, this is a problem that needs to be addressed.”

And area pols — including Councilman Alan Maisel (D–Marine Park) and state Sen. Marty Golden (R–Marine Park) — are urging residents to call them with any concerns, according to Golden.

Locals have reported several unsafe or stalled construction sites in recent months.

A rep for Halberstam said the stop-work order was totally routine and that contractors would correct the issues that the city raised.

The Department of Buildings will continue to monitor the site, and take additional enforcement actions as necessary, said the spokesman.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.

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